Written at a bar in a coffee shop.

Dang, it has been a while.

Hey friends, I am still alive. I’m making it. I am here. I am happy. And I missed writing way too much.

Things have been so crazy. I’ve been learning a lot. Some things about grace and visual rhetoric (mostly for the exam, but also because I love it more than I had anticipated) and concert planning. It has been a whirlwind, and now I’m sitting back in my favorite coffee shop on a rainy, rainy Mountain Day, which is sad, but also awesome because God was like, “Okay, if you’re not going to stop with the busyness or try and rest a little bit, I’m going to bring it right to you.”

So here we go,

My past embraced. My sin forgiven. I’m blameless in Your sight. My history rewritten. You delight in showing mercy, and mercy triumphs over judgment. Oh Love, great Love. Fear cannot be found in You. And there will never be a day, You’re uncertain of the ones you choose.

Blameless. Now that’s a word worth talking about. This week in small group, we talked about how God not only uses Jesus to take all of our sin away, but in its place, He also calls us all the things He calls Jesus. Pure. Holy. Blameless. Righteous. And THAT IS SO BEAUTIFUL. It makes me want to run a marathon and dance in the rain and shout it from the rooftops. That is beyond beautiful.

God has used more ways than just small group to teach me about sacrificial love lately, though. I had an AWESOME conversation with my mom on the drive back to Berry last weekend. We don’t generally have conversations about God, but I just asked her, “What’s God teaching you lately?” And it turned into this beautiful, vulnerable, awesome conversation, maybe even the best we’ve ever had. And I cried a little bit and laughed a little bit and smiled a whole lot because my mom is one of the most beautiful people I have ever met. She loves so sacrificially, and I think I’ve always known that, but our conversation just proved that so much. I gained a new appreciation for the woman my mom is and the woman she has raised me to be because beautiful, strong people don’t just happen. And I’m really grateful for her and that we’ve been able to grow into a relationship with the Lord together. I love that more than anything.

And I’ve been able to step back and tangibly see how Jesus refines and continues to make me beautiful, into a beautiful I can see in myself and actually want to call myself beautiful. Baby steps. Earth-shaking, beautiful baby steps. There are parts of myself that I never realized I didn’t like, but God has been so gracious and sweet in the way He pulls those lies out of the darkness and holds my hand to walk me through them. And I love that. And I love Him.

And today, I woke up, disappointed that it was literally raining on Martha’s parade, but then I remembered something I’ve continued to preach to other people: there is always joy. He is always present. Joy is always attainable. So I settled down, put on my fall clothes, hung out with my family, went to the best coffee shop, and talked to old friends. There is so much joy in seeing people you don’t get to see that often. I forgot how excited I get about that, but it’s true. There’s something so special in those times where I just cherish every minute.

I think we should cherish every minute with every person, but we forget to do that. I think it’s important to make people feel like the center of your world when you’re in conversation with them, and I strive to do that every day, in every conversation. That’s showing selfless love. His love is not selfish, and we shouldn’t be either.

Something I recently learned from a sermon a couple weeks ago was about what it looks like to really read the Bible and not just read it to check it off the list or “learn more,” but to really learn who God is and have this living, active relationship with Him. And I had been reading through the New Testament with study commentary, but then, after hearing that sermon, I realized that it hadn’t really been doing anything for me. I was reading and taking these notes every day, but it was not forming my relationship with God at all. So I stopped. I stopped reading the commentaries and started looking for Jesus’ character and what that meant for me, how I should live my life. And the very first morning, there is was. I had already found something in words that had been so dry to me previously.

bear fruit with patience. // LUKE 8:15 ESV

He isn’t passive with us. He holds on and listens and speaks and moves and lives in our lives every single day, and it is so easy to forget that. He gives us all of Him every single day.

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